It's been a tough few years for Wynonna Earp, both on screen and off.
On screen, the titular heroine turned 27 and, thanks to a family curse, was forced to re-kill all of the outlaws originally killed by her ancestor Wyatt Earp. Off screen, the show was nearly canceled after season three due to financial problems, made it to season four, and then got actually canceled. The Earp curse is now technically broken and the show will end on SYFY in just a few weeks, but the fight continues, both on screen and off.
Creator and showrunner Emily Andras has made it clear that she is trying to find a new home for Wynonna. Wynonna herself, Melanie Scrofano, is just trying not to take what she has for granted.
"It's hard knowing that you just never really have control over when you get to say goodbye to something," she tells E! News. "That's for every show—that's just part of the gig—but I think this show is so special. I don't think I'll ever find [another] show that has this type of magic, both on screen and behind the screen."
And this is where we accidentally made Scrofano cry over the phone as she recalled the moment that she knew Wynonna Earp was going to be that special show for her, with help from Andras and pilot director Paolo Barzman.
"I remember when I knew it would be special with the people I was working with," Scrofano recalls. "Emily was basically like, 'Anything you do is OK.' And I just didn't expect that. She was just kind of like, 'If you're not good at guns, that's almost better.' It was like the first time anybody had said that me not being great would be good enough."
Before production started on the pilot, Barzman and Scrofano went out for coffee—she doesn't remember who invited who—and she cautiously opened up to him about her past experience with a director who wasn't exactly kind to her.
"I had just gone through a really hard show where I had not been necessarily treated that well, so I was a bit gun shy," she remembers. "And I felt really scared about starting this new show. Directors, in particular, scared me. And I just remember saying, 'I'm really scared, I don't want that to stop you from giving me notes, but just know that I'm really scared, and if I seem like I don't want your notes, just please give them to me.'"
Scrofano feared Barzman would be "weirded out," by that admission, but "quite the opposite" happened.
"I think in that moment, we just really bonded on like, OK, we're just two people wanting to do the best thing we can do," she says. "So let's just do that with loving kindness and be gentle with each other."
Scrofano sees her journey, starting as a scared, gun-shy new leading lady, as parallel to Wynonna's over four seasons. She partly credits Andras with that phenomenon.
"I think what Emily does really well is she watches us as people—this is the sense I get, I don't know if this is accurate—but she watches and plays to our personalities and to our strengths," she explains. "So I think she was watching me evolve and letting me do so organically and then it kind of incorporated itself into the story. I get the sense that that was her design, so I think my evolution and Wynonna are very much tied together."
On the show, Wynonna's having a bit of an identity crisis as she continues the never-ending hunt for dead outlaws with no end or change in sight. In real life, everyone is having a bit of an identity crisis.
"That uncertainty that Wynonna is feeling is kind of a metaphor for how we're all feeling. Like what do I do now? What is my role? What is my purpose?" Scrofano says. "So many people that I know personally are rethinking their place in the world and what they really want to be doing, and I mean, Wynonna doesn't have the luxury of getting to choose. She's the heir, she doesn't have a choice, and I do think she loves it, but I do think she also struggles with how to carry that mantle."
That's a struggle that continues through the season, especially as she and Doc (Tim Rozon) try to move past Wynonna's midseason finale betrayal.
"It is messy, and so it's gonna continue to be messy, but that's what I love," Scrofano says of that dynamic. "I love that they keep trying and failing, and it's heartbreaking but I love to be heartbroken. There's just more mess. Let's put it this way: They have not signed up for couple's therapy."
In fact, it's all messy, but as Scrofano says, "The mess it what makes it so alive."
If season four really is the end, at least Scrofano is really happy with that ending—like, really really happy.
"Do I think it will be satisfying? Yeah. I feel like if this is where we have to end, then I'm proud of the journeys that we all took as characters," she says, cautiously trying not to give anything away. "Yeah, I'm extremely satisfied. It would be hard to be disappointed, for me."
Off screen, Scrofano just doesn't want to lose touch with the cast and crew.
"I think the scariest part for me is will the relationships I made on this show continue when we all get busy with other things?" she says. "That's my biggest fear, because these people have changed my life."
New episodes of Wynonna Earp air Fridays at 10 p.m. on SYFY.
(E! and SYFY are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)